Saturday, April 4, 2015

Mexico sweeps doubles at 2015 Pan American Championships

Mexico swept the Women's and Men's Doubles finals at the 2015 Pan American Racquetball Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Saturday, which was to be expected, as they were the top seeded country in the competition and brought their best players to the event.

In the Women's Doubles final, Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas defeated Maria Jose Vargas and Véronique Guillemette of Argentina in the final, 15-4, 15-13, while Javier Moreno and Alvaro Beltran beat Costa Ricans Felipe Camacho and Teobaldo Fumero, 15-8, 15-5, to win the Men's Doubles title.

In the women's final, Mexico got out to an early 4-0 lead in game one, and weren't troubled after that. The second game began the same way, as Mexico took a 5-0 lead. However, Argentina got the serve back, and they scored their first point.

Everything starts from something small, and Argentina scored the next nine points in a row to lead 10-5. Mexico took their second time out at that point; their first came at 5-5. When play resumed Salas hit a winner to get the serve back.

Then there was some confusion over a call after Vargas hit a ball that looked to have been a winner off the right side wall. But Mexico ended up with a point, as if Mexico had been given an avoidable on the play. Salas did hold up on trying to get the ball, but it virtually cracked out off the right wall, so we're not sure it was even a hinder.

The controversy - Argentina appealed at least one of the calls on the play and seemed to make two appeals - on that play seemed to unsettle the Argentines, as the Mexicans scored the eight straight points to lead 14-10.

Argentina held them at match point, and then scored a couple more of their own. It seemed like they were going to force a tie-breaker, but then Longoria hit a winning serve return to put Mexico back in the service box.

On the next rally, Salas lob served to Guillemette, who was playing the left side (Salas was on the right), for the first time in the match. On the rally Salas hit a side front shot for a winner to give Mexico the title in two straight games.

In the first game, the Argentine had been hitting drive z serves to the Mexicans, and it wasn't effective. But in game two they changed to hit lob serves. Guillemette hit backhand half lobs tight to the left side wall to Longoria and Vargas hit lob z serves to Salas. The change almost got them to a tie-breaker with the reigning World Champions, but they fell a little short.

In the Men's Doubles final, Mexico was in control the entire match. Costa Rica gave it a good effort, but Camacho and Fumero are not in the same class as veterans Beltran and Moreno.

In game one, it was close early, but after Mexico got up 7-2, Costa Rica was never closer than three points. By our unofficial count, Mexico combined for 16 winners to Costa Rica's 5, although the errors (skips) were similar, as Mexico had 11 and Costa Rica 9. Moreno had the best ratio of winners to errors, as he hit 8 winners and had 4 errors. Fumero was the worst, hitting only 1 winner while making 6 errors.

In game two, Mexico went up 5-0, but Costa Rica came back to make it 5-4. But they only managed one point after that, as Mexico cruised on to victory.

Both Beltran and Moreno were great in game two, as each made only a single error while making eight and six winners, respectively, for a total of 14 winners to 2 errors. Costa Rica made approximately the same number of winners as errors at 7 to 6, respectively, with Camacho making five winners and four errors and Fumero making two of each.

Overall, Mexico was the team that came out on top, as they won the Women's Team title and came 2nd in the Men's Team standings. The USA was 2nd overall helped by their 1st place finish in the Men's Team standings.

If you missed the finals, or earlier action, the matches will be archived at the International Racquetball Federation part of the IRT Network.

XXVIII Pan American Racquetball Championships
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - March 28-April 4, 2015

Women's Doubles - Final

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. 6) Maria Jose Vargas & Véronique Guillemette (Argentina), 15-4, 15-13

Men's Doubles - Final

1) Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno (Mexico) d. 3) Felipe Camacho & Teobaldo Fumero (Costa Rica), 15-8, 15-5

Women's Team Standings

1. Mexico
2. Ecuador
3. Colombia
4. Argentina

Men's Team Standings

1. USA
2. Mexico
3. Bolivia
4. Costa Rica

Overall Team Standings

1. Mexico
2. USA
3. Bolivia
4. Colombia

Follow the bouncing ball....

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